Who are you going to sign with? (Philippians 3:8-14)

Pastor Aaron Ude, March 13, 2016
Part of the Lent series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

If you follow football, you know that it is free agency time. Teams are trying to sign available players to contracts. They try to convince these free agents that they have the most to offer them. It is fitting then for us to consider that we are free agents too. Yes you are a free agent but I am not talking about football. I mean your soul. God hasn’t signed exclusive contracts with you. God doesn’t prevent you from signing with someone else. God doesn’t force you to worship Him. Football players can only sign with other teams when their contract with a team runs out. But at any time, any day, you can walk away from God and sign your soul over to someone or something else. Scary but true. God made you a believer through the Water and the Word, something we can’t do on our own, but God doesn’t force believers into heaven. He loves you the most of all. He sacrificed the most for you. He offers you the best deal, but He doesn’t force you.
Every day there are plenty of people and things clamoring for you to serve them, to give your whole heart and soul to them. These things promise you all kinds of things. Some of their promises are even true. If you were a football player, you would look at the various offers and decide which is best. Let’s do that. These next two weeks as we approach Easter and see clearly who and what our God is, I want to compare and contrast the offers of the common American false gods and Christ. And see who has the better offer.
What do you do on Sunday morning? It very interesting how accurate this simple test is in finding out what someone’s god is. Remember a god can be a thing, an activity, it is the main focus of your life. It is what or who you chiefly serve. In this society, Sunday was once set aside for the worship of one’s God. That is still very much true. What has changed is who they are worshiping. Increasingly, who they are worshiping on Sunday mornings is not Jesus but the god of sleep, the god of a good time, the god of earthly glory, the god of money, the god of family, or the god of self-righteousness.
How many times have you heard things like, “Oh I don’t go to church on Sundays, it is my only day to sleep in!” “Oh, I don’t go to church, it is the only day I have to spend with my family!” “I don’t need to go to church, I can read the Bible on my own and I like to golfing on Sunday mornings or watch football, etc... “? Do these things have something to offer you? Yes they do. But what they offer is nothing compared to what Christ offers you.
Lets take the “Sunday sleep-in god”. Does he have something to offer you? Oh yes. Think about sleeping 9-10 hours of quiet uninterrupted sleep and waking up well rested and feeling wonderful and taking a slow easy morning, maybe having a breakfast of eggs benedict in bed. Is that nice? Yep! You make the purpose of your life getting good rest, and you can feel well rested and start every day of on the right foot and you will be much happier and healthier. Is it wrong to work and plan to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night? No. In fact, it is wise. Is it wrong when you really aren’t well to stay home from church to rest? No, of course not, but to make sleep your god is foolishness. What sleep offers you is of far less value than what Christ offers you.
One of the things we gain in Christ and from Christ, as Paul points out in verse 10, is the power of His resurrection. The power of Christ’s resurrection is that it defeated death not just for Him for you as well. Romans 6:5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.”
Stop for a moment and think about when by the power of Christ’s resurrection we arise to the morning, the dawn of eternal life. Serving rest for your body won’t get you there. It will get you where there will be no rest for body or soul. Rest for your soul in the forgiveness and resurrection we have in Christ on the other hand will get you there. Death for you will be only sleep from which your body will awake to life everlasting, to life without pain or trouble to the eternal day of God’s presence and light and joy. And we find rest for our soul and obtain this in the teaching and preaching and hearing of God’s Word. Who are you going to sign with, not just today but everyday, Christ or a false American god?
Another popular American god is the “god of a good time”. So many make it clear who their god is by making Sunday a day dedicated to golf or football or recovering from partying the night before. These things call to men. Do they have something to offer? Yes, they can offer lots of fun and enjoyment. To pull our your favorite golf club and see the golf ball soar down the first fairway has quite a draw. To make your favorite snacks and sit back in your favorite chair and watch your favorite team and cheer like a madman when they score a touchdown after a long stressful hard week has quite a draw. To stay up late into the night with friends, telling stories and jokes, and making memories and laughing and being young and free has a quite a draw. Is it wrong to have fun? No not necessarily, but to make having a good time your god, to make having a good time the purpose of your life and your week is foolish.
The god of the good time wants to sign you up to serve him and he has things to offer you (companionship, fun, good memories). Enjoy these things in their place but don’t make them your god. What they offer is rubbish compared to what Christ has to offer you. Tell me when Christ comes to this earth again to judge each person for each sin, where will the god of the good times be found? Will football or golf be there to protect and give you happiness and peace? Where will those friends of yours be found? Will they be able to protect you from being punished for your sins? They give momentary happiness which fades as our bodies head for the grave and senses leave us and they abandon us altogether when we stand before the Judge of all the world.
But Christ, the one true God, does truly love you. He sacrificed the most for you and will be there for you. Paul says that in verse 9. “But to be found in Christ.” Paul was glad to give up every earthly enjoyment for Christ. They are nothing compared to Christ, to being found in Him. The god of a good times won’t be there for you no matter how faithfully you serve him. Christ will be there for you despite how badly we have served Him. 1 John 2:1-2 ““we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins,”
Talk about happiness and good times. There on the last day, when either heaven or hell stands before us, we will be declared not guilty, because Christ is there for us. Christ is the judge, and our lawyer and the forgiveness of our sin. He is here for us. He will be there for us always. In Him, we escape an eternal death sentence and gain eternal life and good happiness. Who are you going to sign with, not just today but everyday, Christ or a false American god?
Money gets a bad rap. Money is a blessing from God. Because of money and the prosperity of this country, my daughters have not gone hungry a day in their lives. Because of money, they are warm and clothed and have toys and go to school and can easily hear and learn the Gospel of Christ. Because of money, I can go on trips with them to see the great beauty and majesty of this world God made. It is not money that is bad. It is greed. It is the love of money above God. We will see what greed did to Lot. He made mammon (the worship of money) his god instead of God, and it brought trouble upon his soul, physical and spiritual trouble that he and his daughters barely escaped and his wife did not. She went down to condemnation with Sodom and Gomorrah. She died an unbeliever and went to hell because she signed with Mammon. She gave her soul to it.
We all serve money to some extent. We spend a lot of time working to make money. And indeed God calls on us to work hard and make a living. And it a great blessing to see the work of our hands multiply. Yet the god of mammon wants more than that. The god of mammon wants the goal of your life and the desire of your heart to be to make money. To be happy and feel secure, only when you have lots of money, to be dissatisfied and discontent when you don’t have money. He wants you to think of Sunday as a time for you to read the financial times and get stock tips. The god of mammon wants your week not to be about storing up treasure in heaven by growing in faith and knowledge of God, but to make as much money as possible, to store up treasure on earth. If you serve this god, will you get something from it? Very probably! Money can buy you many things. Money does has something to offer, but it has nothing to offer compared to Christ.
Paul use to be rich. He and his family were very wealthy, but Saul lost it all when the Holy Spirit made him into Paul, someone who rejoiced in the forgiveness of His sins in Christ above all the riches of the world. He counted losing all his money for gaining Christ a bargain. A trade he would make every day and twice on Sundays. All the money in the world couldn’t buy him forgiveness for what he had done. So if serving Christ and being found in Christ meant losing all his former wealth, he was glad to do it and considered that money rubbish. His prize, His goal, was not getting money, but keeping Christ, the upward call He had in Christ Jesus. Christ has earned that prize for Him and for you. The prize of entering into heaven.
Christ loved Him the most, sacrificed the most for Him and offered Him the most when he, Paul had nothing to offer and by faith Paul knew it. By faith, we know it. Who are you going to sign with, not just today but everyday, Christ or a false god? Christ loves you more than all the false gods of the world. They aren’t real. They don’t love you at all. He, Christ, is real and He sacrificed the most for you (Himself), and Christ offers you the most even though we have nothing to offer. He won for you the upward call in Christ Jesus. He won for you the prize of heaven. He gives you true rest. He gives us eternal good times. Amen.

Tags: count all things loss, gain christ, not having my own rightouesness, phillipians, rubbish

Earlier: Same day: Later:
« Christ is our Rock! None Who are you going to sign with? part II »

Philippians 3:8-14

8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (KJV)

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